Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) released the following statement after receiving an update from Farouq Habib of the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, on the latest in Aleppo:

“Before ending my call with Farouq, I promised to share his message.  Shelling continues to be relentless.  The last hospital in eastern Aleppo was hit earlier this week, and there are no more functional medical facilities operating in the area.  Civilians fleeing the city, even to regime-held territory, are being attacked.  Those who remain desperately lack food and water.

“I was particularly alarmed to hear about increasing reports of sectarian violence being carried out by the Iranian, Iraqi and Hezbollah elements that now comprise the bulk of Assad’s forces on the ground.  I understand their treatment of civilians is even worse than the brutal Assad regime.  Should Aleppo fall, I fear this bloody ethnic cleansing will not be over – it will just be starting.  According to Farouq, more than one million Syrians are now under siege by the Russian-backed regime and its mercenaries.” 

NOTE: Chairman Royce is co-author of H.R. 5732, the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, to impose new sanctions on the Assad war machine and its enablers.